The morphine stopped working and the side effects were destroying my life. I needed something else for my nerve pain.
My name is Ramon Garcia and this is my cannabis story…
After a few years of returning pain in my feet and back, my doctor finally agreed to send me for an MRI. It revealed total destruction of my L4 & L5 discs and I was immediately scheduled for a discectomy to clear out the debris and they told me I should be pain free within months.
Pain Even Morphine Can’t Help?
The pain persisted and the doctors scheduled another MRI. They told me that a piece of debris created permanent scar tissue on the nerve causing it to constantly send pain down both legs.
After this I went through a nearly two year period of trying everything I could to manage my pain — from acupuncture, acupressure, every non opiate nerve medication and a consistent elevation of opiates. The latter ultimately resulted in pain relief — morphine sulfate 60-90mg every six hours for almost thirteen years.
Towards the end of those years I became acutely aware that the morphine was not working and the side effects were destroying my life. My mood changed and I literally felt numb. In my search for some type of relief and a deep desire to rid myself of the morphine, I found several people with similar conditions professing relief with cannabis. I believe in the medicinal benefits of herbs and had tried cannabis but was not receiving the full benefits and wondered why.
As I researched more, I spoke with a chemist who explained to me how the endocannabinoid system works and how opiates block your receptors from accepting the benefits of cannabis. As I dosed off the morphine, my body changed and instantly began to feel the full effects of cannabis.
It’s been nearly 3 years now with nothing but cannabis products to manage my pain. I find Indica or Indica dominant hybrid strains work the best for nerve pain. I smoke, vape, and use tinctures and at times edibles at night, all of which work great.
Cannabis gave me my life back!
The Nerve Pain Science, From RxLeaf:
Neuropathic pain is nerve pain coming from nerve damage of illness or injury. It’s associated with many diseases but also stems from damage to the spinal cord or central nervous system. Ramon Garcia is one of many chronic pain patients now relying on cannabis, instead of prescription painkillers. But why is cannabis proving more effective at managing this specific type of pain? And why do patients tolerate it better than opiates?
Firstly, cannabis interacts with the endocannabinoid system. This is the biological mechanism behind pain control (among many other aspects of human physiology). Through a direct connection, and strong activation with the CB1 receptor, THC seems to modulate the experience of pain. From neuropathy from HIV to spinal cord injury, and more, there are many clinical and animal studies backing up the beneficial effects of cannabis on neuropathic pain like that which Garcia experienced.
Secondly, people tolerate cannabis better than prescription painkillers, like morphine and opiates. Over time, the risk of addiction to opiates like morphine is much greater than the risk of addiction to cannabis. Basically, as Garcia experienced, the adverse effects of morphine were unpleasant and unbearable. On the flip side, cannabis’ adverse effects, if experienced, are mild and temporary. They can include light headedness, or dizzyness. No one has died from cannabis. Many people every day continue to die from opiate overdoses.
Garcia isn’t the only one to switch from a possibly dangerous prescription for chronic pain to cannabis. Further, more and more people continue to reduce their reliance on prescriptions, and use cannabis instead. Here are studies showing the effect of legal cannabis across Washington, Oregon and elsewhere. The more widely available medical cannabis is, the lower the rates of opiate overdose and addiction.
Cannabis and Nerve Pain — Where to Start?
If you live in a medicinal-legal state, and you’re thinking of ditching prescription pain pills for medicinal cannabis, first, ask your doctor. They should be able to refer you to a clinic. Once you have your card, you can visit a dispensary and start rolling.
However, know that, even if you regularly consume only a small amount, opioid dependency is difficult to overcome. If you plan to switch to cannabis only, again speak to your doctor before you begin weaning off of opioids. The process might not be easy, but know that many patients find cannabis helps them through it. Further, check out other RxLeaf articles, friends, and dispensary clerks who know (budtenders) to ask what strains might be beneficial for your personal medical needs.
Lastly, know that the process of finding the right strain is not always easy. You might have to try a few before you get there. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Even if your nerve pain is too bad for morphine, cannabis pain relief is a light at the end of the tunnel for you.